If you can no longer make decisions for yourself you are said to lack mental capacity.
Making decisions - the law
The law (Mental Capacity Act 2005) protects anyone, over the age of 16 who is unable, at any particular time, to make some, or all decisions on their own behalf. This could be because they have:
- a mental health problem
- a brain injury or stroke
- a learning disability
- or some other reason
It covers decisions about topics ranging from everyday matters like what to eat or wear, to decisions that could have important personal, financial or legal consequences.
How the law can help and support you?
The law will help you if:
- You currently find it difficult to make decisions some or all of the time.
- You want to plan ahead in case you are unable to make decisions in the future.
Download our factsheet about
The Office of the Public Guardian booklet Gov.uk: making decisions - Who decides when you can't? has detailed information and advice about mental capacity and what the next steps should be.
What if you don't have anyone to act on your behalf?
Our financial support team can help manage the financial affairs of people who have no one who is willing or able to do this for them.
Our Independent Mental Capacity Advocates service can also be when the person who lacks capacity has no-one (other than paid staff) to support or represent them.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The law also allows for people, who can't make their own decisions, to be cared for in a very restrictive way, but only if it is necessary for their own protection. Find out more about our involvement in assessing care homes and hospitals to ensure the care being provided is In the person's best interests on our Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page.